All Wright On The Night For Blues  (Sky Sports)

West Ham United 1 Chelsea 4

Shaun Wright-PhillipsIf Chelsea manage to usurp Manchester United at the Premiership summit come the season's end, then 18th April will likely be bookmarked as a key date in their title defence, on the night Shaun Wright-Phillips finally came of age for the champions as West Ham were put to the sword 4-1.

Given it was an entertaining and evenly fought first 45 minutes at Upton Park, which at one stage saw Carlos Tevez draw West Ham level, the scoreline was perhaps somewhat flattering, but what cannot be disputed is that Chelsea are unlikely to relinquish their crown without an almighty fight.

While the East End is synonymous with grit and the West End glamour, on a frenetic night in the capital both sides demonstrated an abundance of the former but it was Wright-Phillips, decisively, that encapsulated the latter.

Still for all the endeavour in the first half, what was conspicuous by absence was the magic, and it was left for Wright-Phillips to conjure from his own box of tricks two strikes of stunning beauty.

In the second half Chelsea imposed a semblance of class on proceedings as Salomon Kalou and Didier Drogba fired them out of sight, in a contest that saw another nail hammered into West Ham's Premiership coffin.

Given the importance of the game to both sides it came as no surprise that the early exchanges embraced power over poise, as West Ham buoyed by a partisan home crowd went for the jugular from the first whistle, as their talisman Tevez orchestrated with a series of spirited forays.

It was the small in stature but tall in heart Argentine that forced Petr Cech his first but far from final moment of consternation, when a menacing drive for the heart of Chelsea's backline concluded with a skewed cross which required a tip over to maintain parity.

Earlier in the contest and Bobby Zamora was a mere inch or so off connecting with Yossi Benayoun's hanging cross, while at the other end, Robert Green had to rescue his side from Kalou from close range, before scrambling across his goal to smother Drogba's rebound.

Wright-Phillip's first goal arrived just past the half hour mark when after exchanging passes with Frank Lampard he showed tenacity in shrugging off Benayoun, wit in bamboozling Jonathan Spector with a drop of the shoulder and precision in firing across Green from the edge of the area.

It was, though, a lead that lasted less than five minutes as Tevez strengthened his growing bond with all things claret and blue, when he received the ball from a throw-in on the home side's left and after skipping past Lampard, unleashed a strike full of fizz but one that nevertheless should not have beaten the normally infallible Cech.

The Upton Park faithful were elated and then deflated within the space of 60 seconds, as Chelsea reaffirmed their superiority with a stunning effort from Wright-Phillips.

Lampard rolled into the path of an overlapping Wayne Bridge and after being found by a pinpoint delivery, eight yards from goal, Wright-Phillips opened his body to divert a perfect volley beyond Green.

Alan Curbishley will be pleased with his side's response as they created chances for first James Collins, whose free header was straight at Cech, and then Benayoun, who took an age to get a shot off when well placed and the chance was lost.

A lack of clinical edge in front of goal was never more so apparent than just moments after the interval, when Zamora fluffed his lines when no more than five yards out from George McCartney's cross.

It would get no better for West Ham, for on 52 minutes their ambition of springing a shock faded into the night, as Kalou stabbed in the rebound, on the line, after Green had excellently parried Drogba's half volley from Lampard's devilishly delivered free-kick.

With West Ham left to plot next season's route to Glanford Park, Drogba smelt the blood of a side resigned to their fate and set about a personal duel with Green - who came off the better a couple of times, before the Ivorian, in the 62nd minute, brushed off dithering Lucas Neill defending to put through the legs of a now crestfallen goalkeeper.

Like a cat that plays with a defenceless mouse, Chelsea tormented a defeated West Ham in knocking the ball around with abandon but ultimately, they showed mercy in settling for four goals, on a night in which they sent another message to the pretenders from Manchester. 

West Ham United

Team Statistics






1st Half Goals



Shots on Target



Shots off Target



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Yellow Cards



Red Cards



Passing Success






Tackles Success






Territorial Advantage



West Ham United Green, Collins, McCartney, Neill, Spector, Benayoun, Noble, Reo-Coker (Mullins 76), Boa Morte, Tevez (Blanco 83), Zamora (C. Cole 72)
Subs Not Used
Carroll, Davenport
Booked  Reo-Coker, Neill, Mullins, McCartney, Boa Morte
Goals  Tevez 35

Chelsea  Cech, Bridge, Carvalho, Terry, Diarra (Ferreira 46), Essien, Lampard (Ballack 78), Mikel, Wright-Phillips, Drogba (J. Cole 67), Kalou
Subs Not Used  Cudicini, Makelele
Booked  Diarra, Drogba
Goals  Wright-Phillips 31, 36, Kalou 52, Drogba 62

Attendance 34,966

Referee  M. Dean

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